What We’re Reading: April 21

What We’re Reading: April 21

Do you wonder what the Bookish team is reading? Do you want to take a peek at our bookshelves? You’ve come to the right place. Here are the Bookish staff’s personal weekend reading recommendations. Tell us what you think in the comments!

If you’re still looking for some inspiration, check out our Spring Previews for a look at the best books of the season.


Lumberjanes: Volume 1

Where do I sign up for Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types? I’d like to enroll immediately. This comic book has been on my TBR list for years, and I’m so glad that I finally picked it up. I didn’t realize that it was going to have such strong fantasy elements (an excellent surprise), but the characters themselves and their friendships are exactly as unique, strong, and relatable as I expected them to be. No surprises to anyone who knows me: I connect very strongly with April. I cannot wait to check out the next book to learn more about Mal, Ripley, Molly, Jo, and April, and this mystical camp. —Kelly

Relentless Forward Progress

So, I went to a panel this week about running your first ultramarathon. (An ultra is any race that’s longer than 26.2 miles.)  I’ve toyed with the idea for years, but have never been brave enough to actually sign up for one. This panel got me to start thinking about it again. Plus, I won the raffle and got a trail backpack, which felt like a sign from the universe. Anyway, this is one of the books that the panelists recommended beginners pick up, so I downloaded it this morning. We’ll see if I get inspired to finally sign up for something! —Elizabeth

Your Wicked Heart

Meredith Duran is quickly becoming one of my favorite romance authors. I didn’t realize that this was a novella when I started it (#ereaderproblems), but I thoroughly loved every moment of this fun and engaging story. It’s the first in Duran’s Rules of the Reckless series, so I think I’m going to jump right into the next one! —Stephanie

The North Water

I’m currently reading The North Water by Ian McGuire. This historical fiction was one of the New York Times’ 10 best books of 2016 and chronicles an ill-fated whaling voyage to the seas of the Arctic Ocean. The author goes to great lengths to describe the events in rich literary fashion, and helps the reader conjure the sights, smells, gore and pain inherent in the whaling trade. This book did, happily, require several trips to the dictionary to get the full meaning of a phrase or setting, as the richness of the writing introduced new words and subtle distinctions. The storytelling is compelling and the characters come to life on the page. I didn’t quite get or expect the trajectory of the book as it came to an end. Many of the loose ends were tied up nicely, but I believe an opportunity was missed to have a deeper meaning to the life of the main character, Sumner. Or, indeed, maybe that was the very point. Sharper minds may see that more clearly than me! —Doug


The Waking Land

As daffodils and cherry trees start to bloom all around, I couldn’t think of a more perfect time to be reading The Waking Land. From its stunning cover to its beautiful imagery to Elanna’s deep connection with nature, this book evokes an awakening similar to coming to life after a long winter. While the novel does seem to follow some typical plot points for fantasy fiction, the uniqueness of the magic (the ability to feel and control the land), the interesting dynamic between father and daughter, and the divided loyalties that a long time hostage feels help it transcend the norm. —Susan


Within the first few pages of Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy, I fell in love with the main character, Willowdean Dickson. Will, as her friends call her, straight out says her body is fat and claims she doesn’t have a problem with it. Or does she? The humor she uses to address her body and other aspects of her teenage life in a small town in Texas had me laughing throughout the whole book. Other characters, such as her former beauty queen mother, her beautiful and “in love” best friend, a hunky co-worker, and a group of high school misfits, round out Will’s life beautifully. —Gerilyn

The Memory of Light

This week I read a more melancholy novel written by Francisco X. Stork titled The Memory of Light. Vicky is living in a psych ward after surviving a suicide attempt. She meets Mona, Gabriel, E.M., and Dr. Desai, a group that allows her to talk about her depression. Through these friends, Vicky finds herself thinking that life is worth living and she starts to overcome her dark thoughts. Once Vicky is released from the ward, she must use the techniques that the group taught her to find the strength to battle her depression. This book was interesting because it is based off of the author’s real experiences with depression. Many passages made me learn more about this disorder and how if affects people’s minds. This was a very interesting read about overcoming troubles, and I would definitely recommend it as a great, though sad, read. —Anne Marie

gotta get a message to you

I’ve enjoyed a fine National Poetry Month, thanks to this fantastic new collection by Irish poet Frank Golden. It has floored me like no book of poetry has in a long time. Golden has an uncanny ability to touch on the things that move us most deeply—the death of someone close, the suffering of another, the memory of a friend with whom contact has been lost—moving into the emotions in unexpected, unsentimental ways, with the freshest of imagery, earned wisdom, a vein of lived irony, and a diving deeper just when you thought maximum depth had been reached. It’s this last sounding, achieved through a combination of imagistic virtuosity, language, and startling brainpower that puts this work in an elite class, I think. Lost romances, the end of a marriage, physical decline, even the disasters visited upon the innocent by political inhumanity and tyranny—Golden’s poems, which open, develop, and conclude brilliantly in terms of movement and impression, reach their deep soundings page after page. From Ireland to Cambodia, from Finland to the Middle East, from trysting and love, joy and beauty, to loss, death, atrocity: These poems have range. Six parts to the book, its structure beautiful. A work informed by visual art—Golden is a painter, too. And he even finds new depths when he visits landscape and place, when he walks a valley. There’s a tree he writes about, an old gnarled ash whose roots are part of a sacred Irish well. I know the tree. I’ve been there. But I’ll see it anew, and feel more deeply, I know it, next time I visit St. Colman’s Well. —Phil







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